10 Best Zoos to Visit With Your Children on a Family Vacation

Visiting a local zoo should be a must-do for your family wherever you are headed in the United States. Doing so gives your kids a chance to get up close and personal with fantastic creatures. Moreover, our kids get to learn about different countries, science, and conservation.

If you want to know what zoos you can visit in the US, keep on reading:

best zoos

1. San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Safari Park

Located in San Diego, California, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Safari Park is known for its Giant Panda exhibit. Another reason it is worth a visit is that you can visit the animals in a savanna-like environment.

It is also so vast that spending a day exploring the zoo will not be enough. No wonder it is dubbed as one of the most impressive zoos in California. Hence, you should make a plan on how you can maximize your visit to the San Diego Zoo.

2. Lowry Park Zoo

If your kids enjoy a close encounter with animals, the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida is the way to go.

The zoo has a four-acre Australian-themed children’s area. This is where they can brush a goat’s fur and follow the path of the kangaroos and wallabies.

They also have a South Africa exhibit wherein the entire family can feed the giraffe. And with the guidance of a zookeeper, you can visit the Aldabra Tortoise habitat.

If your kids need a break from these extraordinary animal encounters, you can let them ride the kiddie coaster or enjoy a picnic in one of the child-size picnic tables. There is also a mommy spot for lactating moms.

3. Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

If your family happens to be in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, don’t forget to bring your kids to the Pittsburgh Zoo. This is where children can enjoy wild encounters with sharks, cheetahs, and other animal friends.

Some of the must-visit areas in the zoo are the Polar Bear and Black Rhino exhibits. In relation to this, the Pittsburgh Zoo also has animal conservation initiatives to rescue and rehabilitate stranded animals.

As such, they also have programs about planet conservation. This includes turning waste into sweaters, education on a planet-friendly diet, and teacher support.

4. Hamill Family Play Zoo

True to its name, the Hamill Family Play Zoo is wherein kids can dress up like a zookeeper and have a close encounter with animals. Some of their must-visit attractions include the “Dolphins in Action” show.

They also have kid-friendly activities like face painting and other art projects. If you happen to visit during summer, the children can have the chance to release some ladybugs in the nearby children’s garden. They can also help harvest some crops.

So, if ever you are in Chicago, Illinois, make sure to give the Hamill Family Play Zoo a visit.

5. Smithsonian Woodley Park Zoo

Considered a national treasure, the Smithsonian Woodley Park Zoo is one of the best zoos in the United States. That’s because it is home to three beloved pandas: Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Qi Ji.

In addition, you can find a bevy of animals from different parts of the world here! Plus, it is located in Washington DC’s metro system.

The best part? You can score free admission when you schedule an appointment and walk-in. However, admission will cost $30 each when you drive in.

6. St. Louis Zoo

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, the St. Louis Zoo is known for its penguin exhibit.

Their Penguin & Puffin coast is designed to resemble the shoreline of Peru. From there, you can walk inside a chilly cove to see these species swim underwater or congregate on land.

Other attractions include a polar bear exhibit at the nearby McDonnell Bear Point. Your kids can also explore the Emerson Children’s Zoo, wherein they can slide across the river otter exhibit.

The St. Louis Zoo is also home to a den of Tasmanian Devils, which serve as a habitat for these endangered animals.

7. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

If you are in Colorado Springs, make sure to visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It is located on the side of a mountain and features wooded natural habitats.

Some of the animals they feature in this award-winning zoo include hippos, penguins, otters, and elephants. They also offer programs that let you have close encounters and photo ops with animals.

If you wonder what’s the best thing your kids can do at the zoo, consider feeding the giraffes. Another excellent idea is joining a porcupine in a painting session.

8. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this children’s zoo is designed for kids to have a close encounter with different animals.

As soon as you come inside the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, your kids can visit a chicken coop or feed the goats. There is also the Australian Adventure area wherein children can hop along with Eastern grey kangaroos. They can also go up-close and personal with the giraffes and zebras in the African Journey area.

But what’s great about visiting this zoo is that you can avail healthy children’s meals or rent a low-cost wagon.

9. Zoo Miami

If you are done enjoying the sun and sea of Miami, consider visiting the Zoo Miami for a new experience.

What makes this zoo in Miami, Florida a big hit to kids of all ages are its exhibits and hands-on learning experience. You get to explore the habitat of the Galapagos Tortoise and feed other animals like giraffes, camels, rhino, and parrots.

Other exhibits include a close-up encounter at the Critter Connection and the Wildlife Presentation at the Sami Family Amphitheater. They also have water spout playgrounds and ride back to the entrance when it becomes humid in Miami.

10. San Antonio Zoo & Aquarium

Located in San Antonio, Texas, the San Antonio Zoo & Aquarium has a unique area designed for kids aged five years old and younger. This includes the Tiny Tot Nature Spot, where kids can hop on stone lily pods.

Some of the activities you and your kids can do include cooking a meal in the outdoor mud kitchen, looking for animal traces, and having a face-to-face encounter with tropical water animals.

best zoos in the usa

In Conclusion

Zoos are integral in protecting and conserving wildlife. It also allows families to have a close encounter with these animals and learn more about them. So wherever you are in the US, make sure to visit the ten kid-friendly zoos listed on this post.

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